For release: Friday 18th February 2011

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has called on governments to ensure the outdoor advertising industry better reflects community standards in a submission lodged with a House of Representatives Committee today.

In its submission to the House Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs Inquiry into the regulation of billboard and outdoor advertising, ACL joins the call for outdoor advertising to be ‘G’ rated.

“Outdoor advertising is a public medium. Unlike television, the viewer has no choice but to be exposed to it,” said ACL spokeswoman Wendy Francis.

“This means that children are regularly exposed to sexualised media content that is developmentally inappropriate.”

Mrs Francis said the proliferation of sexualised outdoor advertising was making the task of raising balanced children all the more difficult for responsible parents.

“Parents are becoming increasingly concerned by the proliferation of sexualised images in public places, and are worried about the impact this will have on their children’s perceptions of sex and healthy relationships.

“Concerns about the hyper-sexualised nature of the contemporary media environment are nothing new,” Mrs Francis explained.

“A Senate Committee recommendation highlighted that the “inappropriate sexualisation of children in Australia is of increasing concern” and that, “preventing the premature sexualisation of children is a significant cultural challenge”.

“Advertising regulation needn’t become more onerous, but consistent with the Senate Committee’s recommendations, the onus is on advertisers, among others, “to take account of these community concerns”.

“Consistent with their responsibility as communicators in public places, we call on advertisers to ensure outdoor advertising is G rated.”

The House Committee anticipates reporting its findings mid-2011.